An ongoing IUPAC objective is to ensure that Chemistry International (CI) meets the ever-changing needs and expectations of its readers. Today, those needs and expectations are in flux as the combination of publishing technologies and digital content continues to significantly alter how information is accessed, read, and used. E-versions of journals and magazines increasingly include interactive features and functionalities that are impossible to replicate in their print versions, and IUPAC is examining how we can move CI in that direction.
This journey began in 2014 when De Gruyter assumed the publishing responsibilities for CI. They suggested that IUPAC consider a new digital format similar to one that they use for their digital publication Public History Weekly. While we did not believe the format was appropriate for CI, their proposal did raise a number of questions regarding CI’s format, content, features/functionalities, etc., and it was agreed that IUPAC had insufficient knowledge about how and why users read CI. As a result, the Executive Committee asked that the Committee on Publications and Cheminformatics Data Standards (CPCDS) conduct a survey to learn more about how the publication is accessed, read, and used in its current print and digital versions; what content is most valuable; what, if anything, needs to be added or changed; and what features and functionalities are absolutely essential for the provision of an enjoyable and informative reader experience. The survey was completed in 2015 and, based on reader feedback, CPCDS drafted a series of recommendations for the future of Chemistry International, which were accepted by the IUPAC Executive Committee in October 2015.
There were two pivotal recommendations. The first was that a hands-on CI Editorial Board be established to work with the Editor, Fabienne Meyers, to oversee the implementation of the CPCDS recommendations. This was done before the end of 2015. The Board’s first action was to establish a mission for the future of CI, which is as follows:
“Chemistry International is the information news publication of IUPAC. It is intended to provide a two-way exchange of information, news, and feature articles as part of a mission to reach out globally to our members, Academies of Science, Chemistry Societies, UN and regional governmental organisations, academia, industry, and those interested in global policy or issues, to the extent that these are influenced by chemistry. Specifically, information and news will be provided on IUPAC activities and to enable others to engage with IUPAC.
It is anticipated that the content will be published in both paper and digital formats, with format selection ultimately driven by the immediacy of the information.”
Since its inception, the Board has held a monthly teleconference, including one with De Gruyter to review the print production process and discuss the recommended changes to CI.
The second pivotal recommendation was that CI be published in print format on a seasonal basis (four times a year) and that digital updates be made available via the IUPAC website on a more frequent basis. This will begin in 2017, with printed issues being released in January, April, July, and October . The Editorial Board is currently working to develop a schedule for the digital updates, a content pipeline for both the digital and print editions, and a platform on which CI will reside within the IUPAC website.
There is a lot of work to be done as we move forward and progress reports will appear in future editions of CI. Your comments and suggestions for features and on how CI can be used more effectively are most welcome and can be set to Colin Humphris at email@example.com.
©2016 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston